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Omar's HAVANA CUBA Recipes

Recipe Glossary
Tbl = tablespoon
t = teaspoon
lbs = pound
oz = ounce
g = gram
Note: Salt, for Omar T is either Kosher or Sea Salt
Not to be confused with the fictional, former, Club Kid
*throw away your highly refined salts

Ochun Sensuous Sauce

Ivis’s lard rue on low heat, slowly melt lard, stirring consistently to keep it from separating, add flour, a bit at a time at edge of pan then whisk into the whole, repeat until the sauce has some body, but not to thick, whisking until you have a light yellow color for Ochun

warm heavy cream, add enough saffron to achieve a rich yellow, increase your pan heat and add dollops of rue whisking in the texture until you have a luxurious, sensual texture. Salt to taste.

Sauteed Cucumbers
Peel then cut down the middle length-wise and then core/remove seeds, leaving just the meat (skin and seeds turn bitter when exposed to heat). Slice to desired size and simply toss on heat, quickly with butter, white pepper and salt. Pairs exceptionally well with fish. Sit back and enjoy the reaction of your guests to the surprise addition to your meal. 

Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)
Ropa Vieja, Spanish for “old clothes,” is a stew, traditionally from leftovers. Like any stew, there are many variations possible according to availability, taste and preferred cooking method. Variations of the dish occur throughout Cuban households and the rest of the Caribbean.

Basic Ingredients
• 3 tablespoons of veg/olive oil
• 2 pounds meat (skirt, flank, rump)
(Cut in 2-4” chunks)
• 1 or 2 bay leaves
• 1 green bell pepper, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced
• 1 large onion, sliced
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• ¾ cup of wine (white is more commonly used)
• 1 cup tomato puree
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• Spanish olives
• Salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat vegetable oil, brown the meat with the onion, peppers and garlic.
Add wine and bay leaf, let heat reduce liquid by approximately half, add broth, tomato sauce, spices and olives. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook. In pressure cooker 30 to 40 minutes, In a crockpot, 2-3 hours, in 250 oven 6 hours, 350 oven 4 hours. When meat chunks push apart easily, shred meat and serve with tortillas or white rice and maduros (yellow plantains) fried or moro (rice with black beans).

Be thankful for having meat…

ARROZ CON POLLO Chicken & Rice
Originally from Spain, there are a variety of versions throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Have fun with additions and subtractions from this extensive list of possible ingredients.

• 4 Chicken Leg Quarters (or any other cut of Chicken)
• 3½ cups of uncooked Rice
• 5 strips of uncooked Bacon
• 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
• ¾ chopped large Onion
• 1 chopped Green Bell Pepper
• 4 cloves of minced Garlic
• 1 chopped Tomato
• 10 Spanish style Olives stuffed w/ pimiento
• 2 teaspoons of Capers
• 1 cup of light Beer
• 3½ cups of Chicken Broth
• 4 oz of tomato sauce
• 1½ teaspoons of Cumin
• 1½ teaspoons of Oregano
• 3 Bay Leaves
• 1 tablespoon of Vinegar
• 1 teaspoon of Salt
• 1 teaspoon of Pepper
• ½ cup of Roasted Red Peppers
• 1½ cups frozen peas
• Handful of chopped cilantro

Marinate the chicken with olive oil (2 tablespoons), vinegar (1 tablespoon), water (1 tablespoon), 1 garlic clove minced, ¼ teaspoon of each of the following - salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano, for at least as long as it takes you to gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients. For more flavor and tenderness, marinate overnight. Sauté bacon on low heat until crispy and the fat is rendered out. Remove bacon from pot, chop, and set aside. Brown chicken in bacon fat for about 15 minutes and remove from pan. Sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic until onions become translucent. Add tomato and capers at this time and continue cooking for about 5 additional minutes. Mix in olives, bay leaves, and tomato sauce. Also add the salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Add chicken and bacon back into pot. You can first remove the chicken from the bone and cut it up to make it easier to eat, if you prefer. Add the chicken broth and beer. Bring to a boil while stirring in the uncooked rice. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover and stir in the frozen peas. Cover and cook an additional 25 minutes. Check the doneness of the rice and cook for additional time in needed. Plate when done and garnish with the fresh chopped cilantro and roasted red peppers.

10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 fluid ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda.
Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to intensify the flavors. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.
Cuban twist: finish with a splash of bitters

Chef Omar T Mojito:

Instead of muddling, tear mint leaves into small pieces into glass, add juice of whole lime and 2 oz white rum. Before discarding lime, give the glass rim a little caress with the pulp, leaving a little flavor (for an even richer version, let the lime and torn mint leaves sit a while before the next step). Add 2 oz margarita mix (this replaces the sugar and adds some richness) fill glass with ice, finishing with soda water. Top with fresh mint crown and a splash of one of the following, bitters, dark rum or anejo (amber rum).

An all dark or anejo rum makes an awesome mojito as well

2 ounces light rum
1 ounce plus one teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup

In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine ingredients and shake vigorously, or blend in a blender, then strain into cocktail glass.

Hemingway Daiquiri:
2 ounces white rum 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit
juice 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur 1 lime wheel, for garnish (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the lime wheel and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the lime wheel.

Note: To fully mimic the man, drink a dozen in one evening

Mojo criollo is a traditional Cuban marinade that can be used on a variety of meats. It is particularly classically paired with succulent shrimp and sour orange (also known as Seville oranges). Can’t find any sour oranges, look for additional sour in your lemons and limes.
• 10 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 11/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
• 1 c. sour orange juice
• 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
• 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 11/2 to 2 lb. large to jumbo raw shrimp peeled and deveined
• salt to taste
Marinade: Mash garlic, pepper and oregano using a mortar and pestle or food processor, until they form a “pesto” or chunky puree. Whisk garlic mixture with olive oil and the remaining ingredients. Mojo Shrimp: Add shrimp to half of the sauce and marinade in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
1. Drain shrimp, reserving marinade.
2. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
3. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with salt. Toss for 30 seconds
4. Lower the heat to medium and cook shrimp, turning at least once until they are pink and cooked through.
5. Remove the shrimp to a warm platter.
6. Increase the heat to high add the reserved marinade and the other half of the sauce reserved earlier.
7. Boil sauce until reduces by half and thickens.
8. Pour it over the shrimp and serve.
Great with rice, veggies or poured over a salad.

Picadillo Cubano
(Cuban Ground Beef Dish)

A popular Cuban dish for its simplicity and rich palatte of flavors.
(About 4-6 servings)
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 pound ground beef
• 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon of ground oregano
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
• 5 garlic cloves, crushed
• Salt and pepper, to your taste
• 1 cup of tomato sauce
• 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
• 1 cup of white wine
• 1/2 cup of stuffed Spanish olives, cut in half
• 1/3 cup of raisins
Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown, stirring occasionally, then add the cumin, oregano, bay leaf, onion, bell pepper, garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the ensemble for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, white wine, olives and raisins. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Remove the bay leaf and serve over plain white rice.

Lechón con arroz

Classic Cuban dish for transforming leftover roast pork into something new with simple technique and ingredients.

Arroz Frito con Lechón Recipe
• 3 eggs
• soy sauce
• chicken broth
• vegetable oil
• ¼ chopped onion
• ¼ chopped green bell pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 cups cooked white rice
• 1 cup lechón asado (roast pork)
• ¼ cup chopped green onions
• ¼ cup green peas (fresh, frozen or canned)

Whisk the eggs adding a bit of soy sauce and a little chicken broth. Heat a large frying pan with enough oil to just barely coat the bottom. Scramble the eggs in the hot pan and set aside. Add a little more oil and sauté the onion and bell pepper over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Turn down the heat and add the garlic. Continue cooking, but don’t let the garlic get toasty. Add the rice. Fry the rice gently, stirring frequently, adding some chicken broth. Slice up the scrambled eggs and add to the rice. Add a bit more soy sauce and the diced lechón (roast pork). Fold in the green onions and peas until heated through. Remove from heat, cover, and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.




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